Canada is enormously attractive to skiers and snowboarders. With regular snow dumps, groomed slopes and well-planned mountains with plenty of facilities, it’s no wonder Canada is popular. In recent times, favourable exchange rates (you can stay and ski for a week for as little as a few hundred dollars a person) make a Canadian skiing or snowboarding holiday even more attractive.
There are so many wonderful places to ski in Canada, you’ll have trouble choosing. We’ve put together a guide to skiing in Canada with an overview of the best ski resorts in Canada.
The best skiing in Canada is in British Columbia (on the coast, Thompson Okanagan and the Kootenay Rockies) and the Canadian Rockies in Alberta.
There are two types of skiing and boarding experiences. You can choose to stay on the mountain and ski straight out the door or stay in a mountain town, like Banff, and enjoy the experience of national park skiing. Here’s our big list of where to go skiing in Canada and a few tips on other winter activities you’re sure to love.
British Columbia coast
Location: 125km (78 miles) from Vancouver
Snowfall: 11.63m (38 feet)
Runs: 200 marked ski runs, 3,307ha (8,171 acres)
There’s a good reason you probably already know a bit about Whistler Blackcomb. Canada’s most well-known ski resort is right up there on the list of best winter resorts in North America.
Whistler Blackcomb has long ski seasons and a vibrant hub of cafes and culture. The range of blue, green and black runs along with a variety of winter activities – from winter ziplining to ice climbing and winter bungee jumping – makes Whistler a great choice if you want a ski resort with lots to do.
There are two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers.
Keen skiers can have their pick of runs at the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. And Whistler’s Ski with an Olympian program allows anyone to explore the mountain with an Olympic athlete as your guide.
The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is an experience worth making the trip to Whistler for, even if you’re not a skier.
What’s cool? Treat yourself to a luxury adventure exploring Pemberton Ice Fields in a helicopter, on a snowmobile or snow bike. Then soak those aching legs in a backcountry hot springs, stay in a snow hotel and dine on gourmet cuisine.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort
Location: near Courtney, Vancouver Island and a 40-minute drive from Comox Valley International Airport and Campbell River.
Snowfall: 11.5 metres (38 feet)
Runs: 81 marked ski runs, 688 hectares (1,700 acres), two terrain parks, five lifts and four Magic Carpets.
Until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Mount Washington was pretty much a local secret. Several national teams trained for the Olympics here and it has an excellent Nordic Centre, with plenty of groomed trails to explore.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort has scenic west coast views and tons of snow. There’s a laidback alpine village with ski-in, ski-out accommodation.
What’s cool? Mount Washington is one of the best places to slip on the skinny skis. With its Nordic Centre on the edge of Strathcona Provincial Park, it offers 55km (30 miles) of machine-groomed cross-country trails and 22km (13.5 miles) of snowshoeing trails.
British Columbia – Thompson Okanagan
Sun Peaks Resort
Location: 45 minutes from Kamloops, British Columbia
Runs: 135 ski runs covering 1728ha (4,270 acres) of skiable area, two bowls and 11 lifts.
Sun Peaks Resort is a large ski resort with five quads and the four hectare (10-acre) Rockstar Energy Terrain Park. As Sun Peaks gets over 2,000 hours of sunshine each year, it’s a great place to ski if you love bright sunny days.
Other reasons to choose Sun Peaks is it has a charming European-style alpine village. There are three mountains (Tod, Sundance and Morissey), with slopes for all ability levels from the top of every chairlift.
For Nordic skiers, there are 34.9km (21.7 miles) of groomed and track-set Nordic trails, 14.3km (nine miles) of backcountry and 16km (10 miles) snowshoe terrain.
What’s cool? The Sun Peaks Sports School has new courses for 13 to 18-year-olds to teach teens new skills and build confidence across the board, from powder-filled glades in the Teens’ All Mountain Program to boxes and jumps in the Teens’ Terrain Park Program.
Local skier Laurie White, who launched her female-friendly program five years ago, has expanded her Ski Sisters program now available twice a day six days a week.
New full-day private tours offer secrets of the alpine backcountry. Sun Peaks’ top instructors will guide guests to the best nooks, crannies and powder, while sharing local lore about the area.
Big White Ski Resort
Location: 56km (35 miles) from Kelowna, British Columbia
Average annual snowfall: 7.5m (24.5 feet)
Runs: 118 trails over 3,052ha (7,355 acres) of terrain, 15 lifts and 618ha (1,525 acres) of alpines and glades.
Big White is a large family friendly ski-in, ski-out resort village that has a big drawcard of champagne powder. There’s a TELUS Park skier/boarder course and 25km (16 miles) of combined Nordic and wilderness trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
The Black Forest Day Lodge is a fast food outlet with a day-use lunch room, direct walk-to-lift access and ski lockers for season pass holders.
After dark, Big White comes alive with restaurants and entertainment. It has Canada’s largest resort night skiing area and programs for all the family, from sleigh rides and bonfires to skating and ice climbing.
What’s cool? Down a cowboy coffee with a kick at the Gunbarrel Grill, where servers prepare a Gunbarrel Coffee by pouring flaming Grand Marnier down the double-barrel of an unloaded shotgun.
SilverStar Mountain Resort
Location: 22 kilometres (14 miles) from Vernon in British Columbia
Average annual snowfall:
Runs: 130 runs across 1328 skiable hectares (3,282 acres), 12 lifts and over 770ha (1,900 acres) of steep, deep, black and double black diamond runs.
SilverStar is a big mountain with a small-town feel. Located in a picturesque part of British Columbia, SilverStar is a favourite with locals, for its champagne powder and friendly ski village.
For international visitors, SilverStar is a one-hour drive from Kelowna’s airport. It has ski-in, ski-out access, four mountain faces and is the third largest ski area in the province.
SilverStar also offers cross-country skiing, with 105km (60 miles) of trails and a four-kilometre (2.5-mile) lit track for night skiing. There’s lift access to upper trails and two certified biathlon ranges.
What’s cool? SilverStar has 42ha (105 acres) of new terrain in Putnam Creek and Silver Woods. You can look forward to better grooming this season, with two new Pisten Bully groomers, improved trail signage and a larger selection of rental offerings (including pull sleds and more skate skis).
Apex Mountain Resort
Location: 15 minutes from Penticton, British Columbia
Average annual snowfall: 600 centimetres (236 inches)
Runs: 450 skiable hectares (1,112 acres), four lifts, 75 trails and a variety of bowls, glades and terrain parks.
Despite terrific snow, varied terrain and proximity to Penticton, Apex Mountain Resort is still one of British Columbia’s hidden gems. This Okanagan Valley full-service destination resort is famous for its light-as-air champagne powder.
There’s a cosy village setting with ski-in, ski-out access, loads of après ski fun and activities for kids. Other activities include the Tube Park, snowshoeing, ice skating and cross-country skiing. There are 56 world-class trails at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre.
The one-kilometre (0.6-mile) ice-skating loop is open in the evenings and there’s a NHL-sized outdoor hockey rink for hockey, curling, bonspiels and skating practices.
What’s cool? Apex Mountain is a National Training Centre for aerials and moguls. There are three terrain parks: Claim Jumper Park for those who want to take advantage of rails, boxes and jumps, the fully lit Night Park, and Prospector Park.
British Columbia – Kootenay Rockies
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Average annual snowfall: 750 centimetres (295 inches) at the summit.
Runs: 1,133ha (2,800 acres) of skiable terrain, with 121 runs, four alpine bowls, 85 chutes and five lifts including the high-speed Golden Eagle Express Gondola. 1,260m (4,133 feet) of vertical
There’s a good reason why Kicking Horse calls itself the “Champagne Powder Capital” of Canada. It consistently receives enough of the fluffy white stuff to back up its claims and has steep that attract serious skiers. Kicking Horse’s four heli- and cat-skiing operators provides plenty of choices for backcountry skiing too.
Kicking Horse is located in British Columbia, between the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges. It’s a popular ski field on the Powder Highway, which is a group of ski towns and resorts in the Kootenay Rockies.
The village has a range of accommodation and seven on-mountain dining options, including the Eagle’s Eye restaurant high on the mountain.
What’s new? Eagle’s Eye, Canada’s most elevated restaurant, offers a gourmet dining experience and spectacular views from 2,346m (7,700 feet) high. There are also two luxurious suites, which come with a private chef, butler, ski guide and guaranteed fresh tracks in the morning.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Location: 199km from Kelowna, British Columbia
Average annual snowfall:
Runs: 1,263 hectares (3,121 acres) of varying terrain with two alpine bowls, 65 named runs, and an incredible variety of terrain.
Although the town of Revelstoke has more than a century of skiing history (the area has historically been a destination for backcountry and heli-skiing operations), Revelstoke Mountain Resort is fairly new on the scene.
Located between the Selkirk and Monashee Mountain ranges, Revelstoke offer ski-in, ski-out accommodation at Sutton Place Hotel.
One of Revelstoke’s attractions is it offers lift-, backcountry, cat- and heli-skiing from one village base.
Revelstoke also offers some amazing tree skiing, with 20ha (50 acres) of additional glading this season, and tandem paragliding flights on skis right from the mountain.
What’s cool? Leave the selfie stick and home and relive your holiday on the slopes with the help of Revelstoke’s Paparazzi Pass. By downloading Revelstoke’s Paparazzi app, cameras all over the mountain communicate with your cell phone to record your moves so you can watch them online later.
Kimberley Alpine Resort
Location: 20 minutes from Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook
Average annual snowfall: 400 centimetres (157 inches)
Runs: 729ha (1,800 acres) of skiable area and 80 runs, 12 of them through open glades.
Breathtaking views, tons of fresh powder and a laid-back ski town make Kimberley Alpine Resort an attractive ski resort far enough off the beaten track to avoid the crowds.
Surrounded by the Selkirk and Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Kimberley Alpine Resort also has 33km (20 miles) of cross-country trails, ski-in, ski-out accommodation, family activities including a skating rink.
What’s cool? Ski or snowboard under the stars on one of North America’s longest illuminated runs. Nordic skiers can head over to the Kimberley Nordic Centre, where a 3.3km (two-mile) loop is lit up at night.
Fernie Alpine Resort
Location: 1.5-hour drive from the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook. Average annual snowfall: up to 11m (37 feet)
Runs: 1,011ha (2,500 acres) of skiing area, five alpine bowls, 142 marked runs and 10 lifts.
Fernie’s 19th-century mining boomtown past is reflected in the vintage architecture of its historic downtown. Charming, authentic, out-of-the-way Fernie is a magnet to powderhounds.
Once a small resort with big slopes, Fernie has grown to become one of the bigger resorts in the Canadian Rockies. Located between the Selkirk and Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, it has skiing, boarding and other winter activities.
What’s cool? Fernie is a live spot with some quirky events, such as the popular RETRO Ski Party weekends. The town of Fernie is a lively spot with art galleries and shops.
Panorama Mountain Resort
Location: 308km (191 miles) west of Calgary
Average annual snowfall: 500cm
Runs: 1,152ha (2,847 acres) of terrain with 120 named runs, 1,225m (4,019 feet) of vertical, one spectacular bowl and 10 lifts.
Intimate, accessible, friendly and laid back, Panorama Mountain Resort is a family ski resort with incredible skiing and snowboarding.
It’s also a top spot for adventure-seekers, with heli-ski and snowmobile adventures offered right from the village.
Jib, slide and fly in the Rockstar Terrain Park, glide on 20km (12 miles) of groomed Nordic trails, soak in the slope side hot pools or try fat tire biking in the snow.
What’s cool? At Panorama, three rustic mountain huts offer an extraordinary dining experience with great views of the province.
At the top of the peak, the Summit Hut is famous for smokies, perogies and fondue. It’s accessible by chairlift but why not fly up there by helicopter?
Panorama’s Heli-fondue is a signature experience to put on your bucket list.
Whitewater Ski Resort
Location: near Nelson, British Columbia
Average annual snowfall: 12m
Runs: 479 skiable hectares (1,184 acres) and 632 vertical metres (2,044 vertical feet), 81 runs and four lifts.
Whitewater Ski Resort has uncrowded slopes with lots of snow. The mountain also has 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of groomed Nordic tracks, 13 kilometres (eight miles) of which are snowshoe trails and five kilometres (three miles) of multi-use trails that include snow biking.
Fresh Tracks Café dishes up a popular menu that has inspired four bestselling cookbooks.
What’s cool? The backcountry territory around Whitewater Ski Resort is known as the Cat Ski Capital of the World, with 38,445ha (95,000 acres) of powder terrain.
Red Mountain Resort
Location: near Rossland, British Columbia
Average annual snowfall: 7.6 metres (300 feet)
Runs: 1,164ha (2,877) acres of pristine skiing including fall-line runs, epic verticals (890 metres/2,919 feet), 360-degree descents off peaks and steep tree runs.
Think of Red Mountain Resort as one of those last remaining unspoiled resorts in BC. Home of ski racing in Canada (the country’s first downhill race was held here in 1896 and its first World Cup in 1968), the mountain is known for its cat-skiing on the flanks of rugged Mt. Kirkup.
The resort offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a modern ski-in, ski-out lodging, fine dining, a professional ski school, adventure activity booking centre, day care and a free shuttle to Rossland.
What’s cool? One of the best-kept secrets at Red Mountain Resort is the collection of cabins situated around Strawberry Pass; they’re a great place to stop, rest up and have a bite to eat in a funky setting.
The 16 cabins were each built by locals on Crown land and available for day use. You’ll often spot three generations of family skiers or snowboarders warming up round the fire in these special shelters.
Alberta – Rocky Mountains
Location: near Banff, Alberta
Snowfall: 3m (120in)
Runs: 28 runs over 77ha and six lifts.
Mount Norquay is a training ground for Olympic and World Cup athletes. Gun Run and the North American, which hosted World Cup events in the 1970s, are among the steepest ski runs in Canada. But there are plenty of easy runs suitable for families.
Mount Norquay has the only night skiing in Banff-Lake Louise and has expert snowmaking on 85% of the terrain.
What’s cool? The oldest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies (the first ski cabin was built in 1927) has a historic rope tow that was installed in 1941 and known as the “Big Chair”.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
Location: 60km from Banff, Alberta
Average annual snowfall: 4.54m (179in)
Runs: 145 runs, 10 lifts
Spectacular scenery and versatile terrain makes Lake Louise a magnet for skiers. Lake Louise is a sprawling ski resort great for families and groups of all abilities. There are beginner, intermediate and expert runs from every chair.
Voted Canada’s top ski resort at the World Ski Awards, Lake Louise has a variety of terrain, from gentle slopes and long cruising runs, to glades, chutes and wide open bowls.
If you’re looking for a ski holiday with fabulous scenery you won’t be disappointed by Lake Louise Ski Resort. The only downside is you’ll be distracted by the spectacular views of mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests.
The Lodge of the Ten Peaks at the base of Lake Louise has a warm mountain ambience, with high ceilings and crackling fireplaces.
What’s cool? Spring is a great time to ski at Lake Louise, when the temperatures are warmer, prices are affordable and the slopes are relatively empty (at least on week days). Lake Louise usually gets fresh snow in Spring and there are plenty of fun events.
Location: 15 minutes from Banff, Alberta
Average annual snowfall: nine metres (30 feet)
Runs: 107 runs over more than 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, 12 lifts
Sunshine Village sits on the Continental Divide in the heart of Banff National Park and has three sprawling mountains.
The Village’s altitude ensures the snow stays light and dry and the resort has a long ski season, usually seven months (from early November until late May).
Delirium Dive is high on the list of off-piste destinations in the world.
Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Banff National Park. It has gorgeous views, restaurant, bar and spa facilities but lacks the night life if you choose to stay on mountain.
What’s cool? Sunshine Village will have Canada’s first heated chairlift (for the 2015/16 ski season). The new TeePee Town LX high-speed quad will have heated seats, foot rests and orange bubble covers to protect you from the cold.
Location: 20 minutes from Jasper, Jasper National Park
Average annual snowfall: 4m (160in)
Runs: 86 runs over 678ha (1,675 acres), 7 lifts
The surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful, with ruggedly mountainous landscape of Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Other great reasons to choose Marmot Basin is it’s one of the least crowded ski areas and has a long season (November to May) with plenty of cold, dry Alberta powder.